SEATTLE – The Seattle City Council voted unanimously Monday to denounce Arizona's controversial new immigration law and to stop entering into new contracts with businesses in that state.
In a 7-0 vote – councilmembers Tim Burgess and Richard Conlin were absent – the council called on city departments to stop sending city employees to Arizona and urged them to not enter into new or amended contracts with Arizona-based businesses whenever possible. Seattle joins other cities across the nation in opposition to Arizona SB1070.
The council says this vote is meant to send a bigger message.
"The boycott language is what people pay attention to, but the message of the resolution is to the federal government to say we need a comprehensive, holistic approach to fix a broke immigration system," said councilmember Sally Clark.
Arizona SB1070 would require police in that state to determine the immigration status of a person if there is a "reasonable suspicion" that the person is in the country illegally. Some critics say that would lead to racial profiling. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, a strong supporter of the law, says profiling will not be tolerated.
But there are those that support what Arizona is doing. Among them is a group called Respect Washington. That group is pushing Initiative 1056, which would require state and local agencies to enforce federal immigration laws and verify immigration status in order to issue driver’s licenses and public benefits.
"We want employment for legal Americans, including legal immigrants," said I-1056 supporter Craig Keller
A KING 5 News poll finds most people in Seattle oppose Arizona's new law, but also oppose the boycott action.
The boycott does not affect private businesses in Seattle that do business in Arizona. It also does not affect the Seattle Mariners, which has a spring training home in Arizona.
It will not affect Seattle's current $1.2 million red light camera contract which is up for an extension next year.
Late Monday, two Tacoma City Councilmembers announced they are dropping plans to present a similar resolution.
"Folks weren't comfortable with the boycott language," says Councilman Ryan Mello, who adds, "The change was made because we're listening to our constituents and colleagues."
He and councilwoman Lauren Walker say they will now present a resolution rebuking Arizona's law, and denouncing racial profiling, but that it will only advise the city manager, and Tacoma Public utilities from making any sort of official travel to that state.
The Tacoma City Council is expected to vote on the revised resolution on Tuesday night.
KING 5's Linda Brill and Chris Daniels contributed to this report.